Opinion  :: Columns  :: Nairobi Notebook


Tis the corporate catwalk season
Eric Ombok
Published: 23-NOV-05

THE SECOND half of this year has seen the Kenyan business community in a competition of sorts with event mangers of beauty pageants. For a long time the main beauty pageant in Kenya was Miss Kenya.

Over the years, this event has given birth to a host of regional beauty contests and national pageants like Miss Tourism Kenya, Miss Earth and Miss Malaika.

Every other day one is bombarded with images of winners crowned in one contest or the other. In business circles, companies have also taken to the corporate catwalk. We have the distinguished Company of the Year Awards organised by the acclaimed Kenya Institute of Management as an annual event since the year 2000. Apart from the overall trophy, other prizes include awards in categories such as Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Information and Communications Technology Management, Quality Management, Creativity and Innovation Management and Environmental Management.

The Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK) Warrior Awards has categories ranging from Best New Product/Service Launch Award, Best Social Marketing Effort Award, Best Brand or Service Innovation Award, Best Development of Existing Brand Award, Best Sales Promotion Award, to the overall trophy which is Most Respected Marketer of the Year Award. Barely three months after scooping the coveted Company of the Year Award, mobile phone company, Safaricom, bagged a majority of the coveted MSK Warrior Awards. Then there�s the Financial Reporting (FiRE) awards, promoted by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), the Capital Markets Authority and the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE). Out of the 85 organisations which took part in the awards, now in the fifth year, Unilever Tea Kenya became the new king of fi nancial reporting by scooping four out of the possible six awards.

ICDC Investment Company took the second overall position and BOC Gases Kenya came in third.Then there�s the Energy management Awards, in its second year. General Motors emerged overall winners for achieving good fuel savings and implementing both low and high investment projects. The company also scooped the electricity savings category for achieving 37 percent reductions in electricity consumption.

The Overall runner-up was Spin Knit Limited from Nakuru, the only company that had achieved both fuel and electricity savings in two consecutive years. Other categories in the awards include the Fuel Savings Award, Best Energy Management Team, Energy Innovation Award and the most efficient company in the hotel sector.For the second year now, BIMA (Swahili word for insurance) awards, organised by the Association of Insurance Brokers in Kenya (AiBK), will be rewarding the best in the industry in fi ve categories: Product Development Award, Professional Development Award, Claims Settlement Award, The Integrity Award and AiBK Champion of the year.

The awards ceremony will be on November 11. Five days later, the curtain will come down on the awards galore when the only regional contest, the Most Respected Company in East Africa, will be doing its thing for the 6th consecutive year in Daressalam, Tanzania.The award is organised by the accounting and auditing fi rm, PricewaterHouseCoopers, and is different from others because it is a perception survey.

This year some 300 CEOs in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania will be surveyed on their perceptions of who is the best in key economic sectors such as fi nancial services, hotels and tourism, manufacturing, services, telecommunications and IT, and agriculture.

East African Breweries Limited has bagged the top prize for five consecutive years and all eyes will be on the predominant firm in the region to see it if it will continue the hat trick. According to last year�s survey, most CEOs (59 percent) placed premium on a company which provides top quality products and services.

The awards provide a good means for companies to benchmark against their peers, affirm themselves and reassure their clientele that they are still the best in their league.

But if the awards galore grow at the same rate that the Kenyan economy is growing now and is projected to grow in the near future, it is time to have an Awards Committee on the Board of every company.

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